Your Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyer was asked yesterday how to obtain a sealing or expungement of criminal records in Florida. Today we’ll look at how to obtain a pardon for a criminal act in Florida; but if, and only if, you promise that you won’t go committing a rampage of criminal acts just because I’m showing you how to obtain a pardon.
|Van Gogh, Self Portrait|
Obtaining a pardon in Florida is more difficult than sealing or expungement of criminal records, because a pardon is in its nature a political act. Therefore successful Applications for Clemency in Florida will show the decision makers in the Governor’s office and Cabinet why it is in their best interest to grant the pardon. Successful applications possess a political overtone based on a clear showing of the failure of the judicial process with a well defined change of heart demonstrated by the creative civic actions of the Defendant linked with a showing of simple fairness to address a wrong.
A pardon restores civil rights that a Florida felony conviction takes away. The Governor and cabinet have great leeway under Florida to grant pardons. Upon taking office the Governor’s office issued a press release on the pardon procedure which would be followed during his term of office noting that “…civil rights will not be restored automatically for any offenses,” and delineating categories of crime that would require a hearing (aggravated felonies, drug trafficking, RICO, sexual battery) and which could be obtained without a hearing (simple felonies). A partial sample for the application for Clemency below shows the options available to begin the pardon procedure:
APPLICATION FOR CLEMENCY
Check box for type of clemency desired. All applications must have the proper court documents attached.
Restoration of Civil Rights for Florida conviction
Restoration of Civil Rights in Florida for Federal, Military, or Out-of-State conviction
Restoration of Alien Status Under Florida Law Remission of Fine or Forfeiture
Specific Authority to Own, Possess or Use Firearms (Eligible 8 years after completion of sentence)
Full Pardon (Eligible 10 years after completion of sentence)
Pardon Without Firearm Authority
(Eligible 10 years after completion of sentence)
Commutation of Sentence (Use Form “Request for Review”)
If you have applied for a Full Pardon, Pardon Without Firearm Authority or Specific Authority to Own, Possess or Use Firearms and are determined ineligible due to not meeting the time requirement, you will be processed for Restoration of Civil Rights. If you have already received Restoration of Civil Rights, a Certificate for Restoration of Civil Rights will be mailed to you.
The Governor’s office has an application for clemency form (see above) which you send to the Governor’s office with the records of your criminal case from the clerk’s office as without the records some folks have been known to fib.
For failures in the Florida criminal justice system there is the safety valve of commutation of sentence, which can be applied for in Florida criminal cases where the law has too harshly dealt with a given set of facts, for example where a harsh minimum mandatory sentence applies in a mere nonviolent hand to hand drug deal. For a successful pardon in Florida contact a Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney who will show the Florida Governor and Cabinet why justice demands that a pardon be granted.